Today’s the day we launch our search for the Liberal Voice of the Year to find the individual or group which has had the biggest impact on liberalism in the past 12 months. This is the sixth annual award, and as is our tradition, we’re looking beyond the ranks of the Lib Dems to find the greatest liberal who’s not a member of our party.
The list of 10 nominees appears below. These were sought from Lib Dem members via our most recent survey; 222 nominations were submitted, and each of those short-listed needed to clear a threshold of five separate mentions.
To vote, please use the poll below to rank the nominees in order of preference.
This year’s shortlist for Liberal Voice of the Year is as follows
(in alphabetical first-name order):
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
Alliance Party: “Northern Ireland’s cross-community party: working to build a society free of segregation, sectarianism and prejudice.” Deputy leader Naomi Long MP, who along with colleagues was subject to violent threats in December, is pictured. (Wikipedia entry here.)
Coalition for Equal Marriage
Coalition for Equal Marriage: “set up by two guys, Conor and James, in response to a much-publicised campaign attempting to derail the government’s plans to move toward greater equality for LGBT couples.” (Wikipedia entry here.)
Hacked Off campaign & Hugh Grant
Hacked Off campaign: “Working closely with victims of various press abuses, and on their behalf, Hacked Off believes that now is the time for Britain to have a better press that is answerable to the public it is supposed to serve.” Hacked Off board member Hugh Grant is pictured. (Wikipedia entry here.)
Ken Clarke: former Justice Secretary and now Minister without Portfolio. One of Britain’s best-known politicians, he also served in the Thatcher/Major Cabinets as Education Secretary, Health Secretary, Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer. (Wikipedia entry here.)
Lord Justice Leveson
Lord Justice Leveson: his judicial public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press laid bare the excesses of many journalists while his four-volume Report controversially proposed statutory underpinning of an independent self-regulator. (Wikipedia entry here.)
Malala Yousafzai: a school student known for her education and women’s rights activism in Pakistan. She was shot in October in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. (Wikipedia entry here.)
Rowan Williams: just-retired Archbishop of Canterbury, who has been a prominent critic of successive governments’ policies, and attempted to maintain the unity of the Anglican church while supporting reformers on issues like female bishops. (Wikipedia entry here.)
Sam Bowman: policy director at the Adam Smith Institute, who campaigns for free market social justice (‘bleeding heart libertarianism’), including being in favour of immigration, drugs law reform and equal marriage, and against bank bailouts. (Wikipedia entry for ASI here.)
To vote, please use the poll below to rank your candidates in order of preference. And please feel free to use the comments thread to debate the relative merits of the short-listed Liberal Voice of the Year candidates… (NB: this poll may not work on mobiles/tablets. And please don’t click on ‘Vote’ til you’ve checked the nominees are in your chosen order!)
Previous winners of the our Liberal Voice of the Year award:
2012: Mark Littlewood, campaigner for de-regulated markets.
2011: Aung San Suu Kyi, campaigner against political abuse in Burma.
2010: Peter Tatchell, international human rights campaigner.
2009: Campaigners on behalf of Jean Charles de Menezes (Justice4Jean.org) and Stockwell Shooting Inquest Jury.
2008: Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.